Taking a Writing Leap of Faith

Expanding my posts to the more personal

Karen DeGroot Carter
May 16 · 3 min read
Goldfish jumping out of fish bowl near open water.
Photo by Alphaspirit (Adobe Stock)

Yikes, this is scary. In my first year and a half on Medium, I’ve published a variety of posts, but very few have been personal. My most personal to date (My Daughter’s — and My — Mary Poppins Moment) was about one of my daughters, but it was also about the issue of racial identity. I tend to believe my writing is most helpful and interesting when it covers concrete things like grammar, language, books, book publishing, poetry, memes, social media, and even Santa. Things readers might want to learn about. And while I’ll continue to write such posts because I love to explore topics and share what I’ve learned, I’m feeling the pull to return to the more top-of-mind writing I used to do in journals — but to do that writing online so I don’t just add to my collection of journals filled with scribbled notes I never return to. I also like the idea of digging into my old journals to see what nuggets I can pull out of them and explore.

Another challenge for me is to not edit so much. I’ve probably already read (and revised) the first few sentences of this post a dozen times. It’s an old habit my compulsive copy-editing brain will probably never overcome. So if you’ve read my other posts — especially those about grammar — forgive me if you see errors in my more personal posts, especially if they ramble — as they will and should. As a 50-something writer who’s been writing stories, poems, and articles for as long as I can remember, I’m curious to see where my writing might go if I try writing without the constraints so many writers put on themselves. Or at least the constraints I’ve put on myself for way too long.

This morning I was reminded that I used to write personal stuff a lot — and that I gave a very close friend a wedding present of a journal in which I’d written something to her almost every day for a year before her wedding. My friend and I grew up two houses apart. Outside my family, she’s the only person I don’t remember not knowing. This morning she found the journal while packing to move and sent me a text of a poem I’d written in the journal, a poem that says the sweetest music I know is the sound of her laughter across long-distance phone lines — and how it will always remind me of who I am and how I long for home.

This is the type of personal writing I’m going for. Wish me luck.

I write fiction, poetry, and nonfiction when I’m not working as a copy editor. Author of the novel One Sister’s Song and the e-book Not Nearly Everything You Need to Know About Writing.

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